It's all about gravity, isn't it? At this moment in North Carolina history, all the gravitational pull is in Raleigh, and our Republican representatives down there, Sen. Dan Soucek and Rep. Jonathan Jordan, are learning the giddy pleasures of stomping all over smaller entities who have relatively less power.
Decentralized government? Naw, not on their watch. The town of Boone will be crushed by Bigger Government. Resistance is futile.
Watauga County Commission Chair, Republican Nathan Miller, and his 3-2 majority on that governing board had already explored the joys of crippling Boone's ability to survive by depriving the town of $2 million in sales tax revenue, and they did it out of pure spite. That action by Chairman Miller and the subsequent action by Soucek/Jordan were both prompted by the towering desires of one family, the Templetons, who are now running virtually everything, from the local Republican Party to the County Commission to the General Assembly.
Sir Isaac Newton propounded the universal law of gravitation, and he also mucked about with force, mass, and acceleration, but the Newtonian Law that is about to come into effect for Soucek/Jordan and the Templetons is his Third Law: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Reaction # 1: Homeowners in the ETJ Cry Out
Without the protections of Boone's Unified Development Ordinance, which governs what can be built, where, and how, the residents of Boone's Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) are now exposed to harm from their neighbors, if their neighbors are of a mind to harm them.
This new reality apparently prompted County Commission Chair Nathan Miller to issue a statement on behalf of the Commission majority (which includes a Templeton son-in-law) that the Commission will hold a public hearing for residents and for property-owners in the ETJ, to see what, "if any, restrictions the citizens and real property owners wish imposed upon them by their elected officials."
That's a direct quote from Mr. Miller's statement, with emphasis added where emphasis was obviously intended. In fact, the entire first paragraph of Mr. Miller's statement is nothing but full-throated crowing over the way the town of Boone has been treated. Mr. Miller is already abundantly on the record as being opposed on ideological grounds to most if not all land-use regulations, and his statement that a public hearing will be called to consider land-use regulations is also a signal that only one sort of testimony is going to be listened to.
We'll see how the homeowners in the ETJ get on with their new masters.
Reaction # 2: Boone Residents Cry Out
The question of the hour: Why should Boone taxpayers now pony up many millions of $$ to acquire, build, and develop new water resources to service the Templeton family's ETJ holdings?
It was always ultimately about the water.
Big developers want it. Big developers intend to get it. Hell, they have a power-hungry General Assembly in place to help them seize it.
But the taxpayers of the town of Boone do not have to build it for them. They would be fools to do so now.
The fact has consigliere Jeff Templeton is now calling for a county-wide watersystem might wake up a few more taxpayers: It was always about the water.
As always, Senator Dan Soucek gets the Out-to-Lunch Award: "Water? There's an issue with water? Why didn't someone tell me?"
Reaction # 3 (and beyond): Who the Hell Knows?
The Soucek/Jordan bill to deprive Boone of its ETJ powers is a one-off. No other town in North Carolina history has ever been treated this way. The bill opens a legal can of worms. Let those worms of unintended consequences wiggle! We're sure that County Attorney Four Eggers can handle every one of them!